IOM’s WWI history to go under the hammer

| July 3, 2014 | 0 Comments
Lot 1091 Unused Knockaloe

Rare Isle of Man WWI postal history is to go under the hammer in London with Stanley Gibbons. The lots include the only known unused example in private hands of a stamp from the Knockaloe internment camp established in the IOM during WWI. The camp contained the only British post office to operate within a British prisoner of war camp.

The Knockaloe Post office had its own steel date stamp and printed registration labels. A 2d red stamp on ungummed paper and featuring the camp fence and huts with the three legged symbol in each corner, was designed and printed within the camp, but withdrawn by the authorities before use. Until 1981 it was believed that only an unused sheet of twenty-one of these stamps, held in the Manx Museum, existed.

Auction Administrator, Ryan Epps explains further: ‘In 1981 the daughter of a former camp guard found eight used examples of these stamps in her deceased father’s belongings. Then in 1982 a single unused example was discovered in Spain, which is believed to be the only recorded unused example of this stamp in private hands. Very few records survive of this WWI camp, and so it’s incredible that we have these stamps today, and a real opportunity to hold a piece of postal and IOM history.’

Stanley Gibbons are offering five of the eight known used stamps, and the only unused stamp in private hands. Estimates range from £500 to £1,300.

The Knockaloe camp was used for housing male citizens of the Central Powers, mainly Germany, Austria-Hungary and Ottoman Turkey. The camp was purpose built using prefabricated huts, and was originally anticipated to house 5,000 internees, but by the end of the war around 24,500 were held there. It had 23 compounds divided between four camps, and each camp had its own hospital and theatre etc. The camp was so significant that a railway branch line was constructed and the General Post Office established a branch post office.

The auction takes place on July 30th-31st. For further information: repps@stanleygibbons.com

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